Author Archives: George Simmers

After many years as a teacher, I retired and began researching for a Ph.D. on the fiction of the Great War – especially the books, stories and plays that were written during the War or immediately afterwards.

John Bull

Insofar as Horatio Bottomley’s magazine John Bull is remembered in the history books it is as a purveyor of rabid Jingoism and hatred of the ‘Germhuns’. For a while I’ve been developing the idea that there was more to it than that, and that it was a strong populist voice, critical of the status quo. […]

Beer

After a long while away, I was back at the British Library at Boston Spa today. For too long I’ve been meaning to take a proper look at Horatio Bottomley’s John Bull magazine. Today I got deep into some 1917 issues on microfilm. Loathed by the respectable in his time, and vilified by all decent […]

‘Kipling in the News’

I spent last Thursday and Friday at the Kipling in the News conference in London. It was rather a strange one, because it was what they call hybrid. Current restrictions and problems keep many from travelling, so only a few of us met at the City University near Islington. The rest joined in from afar […]

Arnold Bennett’s Journal

My 1933 copy of Bennett’s journal is a book I often dip into. Full of forthright opinions and lively insights. Now I’m wondering whether I’ve missed out on a fuller edition of some sort. I’ve been reading Agate (1986) by James Harding, an enjoyable life of James Agate, the flamboyant drama critic. Harding quotes an […]

Kipling again

I’m excited to be attending the Kipling in the News conference in London early in September. This was first announced ages ago, and originally set to happen in September 2020, and then postponed a year, because of the miserable circumstances in which we live. I shall be there at the City University in person, but […]

End of a War

Wars in Afghanistan don’t usually end well. This painting by Lady Butler is called Remnants of an Army. It shows William Brydon, assistant surgeon in the Bengal Army, arriving at the gates of Jalalabad in January 1842. He is bringing news of the sorry fate of 16,000 soldiers and camp followers from the 1842 retreat […]

Objectors and Tribunals

I’ve been dipping into Philip Snowden’s Autobiography (found yesterday in a charity shop). Snowden was the M.P. most consistently arguing for the rights of conscientious objectors. He is very interesting on the tribunals, claiming that the Military Service Act was generous in intention, giving definite rights to those unwilling to fight. I cannot speak too […]

Their Country’s Honour

York is not a city I know well, and I had never noticed before, just by the Minster, this handsome monument to those who died in the Boer War. I was struck by the Gothic styling of the top half, whch contrasts rather with the plainness of the slabs of names at eye level. It […]

If Summer Don’t (1921)by Barry Pain

Here’s an odd one, It’s a parody, by the humorist Barry Pain of that mighty best-seller of 1921, If Winter Comes by A.S.M. Hutchinson. My copy of Hutchinson’s novel was printed in March 1922, six months after the first publication in August 1921. It is the twentieth edition (which maybe means impression, but it’s still […]

Hemingway

I am an admirer of Ken Burns’s documentaries, from his revelatory series on the American Civil War to his recent very enjoyable take on Country Music. His Hemingway (now showing on BBC4) is well up to standard in most respects, clearly explaining the life and work of this remarkable writer. One thing jarred. During the […]